(A summary: a restaurant customer complains (citing religious grounds) to the female head chef, who was observed kissing the female manager (the chef’s “girlfriend”). The chef responds by noting how many items of the customer’s appearance (among other things, a rosary tattoo, very expensive attire etc.) and the food ordered (pork and shellfish) violated Old and New Testament principles as much as homosexuality did. The customer and her male companion left.)
I’ve never been quite clear on the difference either. Why is it that some of the prohibitions are no longer valid but others remain? I don’t ask to be contentious, merely to understand the Church’s teaching in case I have to explain it to others.
Because those things mentioned were of the Old Covenant. Christ, at the Last Supper brought in the New Covenant. The greatest symbol of the Old Covenant were the 10 Commandments. We still follow 9 of them (all except the Sabbath) because they are repeated or referred to in the New Testament.
Other more scholarly types may have in depth answers.
I should mention that in the NotAlwaysRight post, the chef cites (among others) Timothy 2:9 ‘I want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not adorning themselves with gold or pearls or expensive clothes.’
This, of course is from the New Testament. I’m guessing that this particular injunction is a strong suggestion or preference rather than an outright commandment?
Here’s an answer to a similar question from “A Catholic Answers 75 Questions on Homosexuality”:
36. What does the Bible say about homosexual acts?
It tells us that homosexual acts are an abomination to God (Lev. 18:22, Lev. 20:13). It reveals to us the wickedness of gay/lesbian sexual activity in the stories about Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19), and also in the story of Gibeah (Judges 19). The New Testament calls homosexual activity dishonorable, shameless, and unnatural (Romans 1:26-27); unholy, profane, and contrary to sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:9-10). Those who commit it cut themselves off from God (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
37. Shellfish and vulture meat are also called abominations (Lev. 11:11, Lev. 11:13).
There is a difference here. Those things are not intrinsically evil; it was a sin to eat them only because it is a sin to disobey a law promulgated by just authority – and God is such an authority, who called certain animals unclean and certain ones clean in order that this might serve as an image, a picture of the distinction between Jews and Gentiles. It does not mean that there is an intrinsic difference in value between the two things (clean and unclean food, Jew and Gentile), but God, Whose choice it was to work among the Jews alone for a time, chose to represent this by means of the image of clean and unclean foods; and then, with the coming of Christianity, to abolish the distinction between clean and unclean, declaring all foods and all people clean, inviting both Jews and Gentiles to join the one Christian family. But as for homosexual acts, it is not a case of something inherently non-moral, as it is in the case of food-types like shellfish and vulture meat. No, indeed: homosexual relations are either good or evil; good, if they are equal to heterosexual relations, and evil, if they are contrary to God’s will. Now God never forbids something intrinsically good; but He did forbid homosexual acts. So we know there was a difference. Therefore, homosexual acts are intrinsically abominable, though shellfish and vulture meat were not, but were only forbidden for a time. And it follows that to commit a homosexual act is to commit a grave offense against the law of God.
Refers to women in church. Dressing modestly with decency and propriety, avoiding hair braided with gold and pearls, is certainly good teaching. It doesn’t mean that owning gold or pearls is forbidden, although ostentatious displays of wealth are always questionable, from a Christian point of view.
Is lesbian intimacy a sin?
Male homosexual activity is a sin because it is sodomy and the act of ejaculation is not open to life. Same applies to heterosexual sodomy. Lesbian intimacy cannot involve ejaculation so it is not sodomy>
The first thing to note is there are two types of actions that are forbidden in the Bible: Actions that go against the natural law, and actions that go against the ceremonial law that Moses established. The natural law applies to all people in every time and place. It doesn’t matter where or when you live, stealing is always wrong. But the ceremonial law was only meant for the Jewish people as a preparation for the coming of Christ. Its not binding on us any longer. The natural law is.
I think most people can see that there is a distinction. Obviously there are some acts that are condemned in the Bible that everybody agrees are always wrong. Murder, stealing, adultery, incest etc… I’ve never once heard anyone argue that because the Bible also condemns eating shellfish and getting tattoos, that murder must also not really be wrong. That’s because the prohibition against murder is rooted in the natural law, not the Mosaic law. And that’s why it is still wrong to murder someone, but not to eat pork.
So with all that said, we would say that we don’t believe homosexual acts are wrong because the Bible condemns it. The Bible condemns them because they are contrary to natural law. And that’s why they are still sinful. Of course, now the question is, how do you know the prohibition against homosexual acts is part of the natural law? Maybe it’s part of the Mosaic law.
And that’s a fair question. Because really, there’s no way to tell just going by the Bible alone which laws are part of the natural law and which are not. The Bible doesn’t tell us. We can kind of tell, but no, there’s no clear list. This is where being a Catholic helps things make more sense. Because we believe the Church has the authority to interpret Scripture infallibly. And it’s the Church that tells us that homosexuality is against the natural law, but wearing jewelry and eating seafood isn’t.
Now they might believe the Church is wrong about that, but that’s a different question entirely. What they can’t say is that we are being inconsistent when we eat pork but don’t support homosexuality. Because we don’t believe those things are in the same category at all.